Spent Identity

Written by Marlene M. Bell⎮ Narrated by Patricia Santomasso

Author: Marlene M. Bell
Narrator: Patricia Santomasso
Length: 9 hours and 43 minutes
Series: Annalisse Series, Book 2
Publisher: Ewephoric
Released: May 13, 2020
Genre: Mystery

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To find her missing aunt, she has to unearth the secrets of the past. But lies and deceit run though the very heart of their town...

What started out as a promising relationship with adventurer and tycoon Alec Zavos has fizzled into an uncertain future for antiquities expert Annalisse Drury. Returning to Walker Farm in Upstate New York to see her Aunt Kate should have been a welcome homecoming and distraction. Instead, she finds the childhood home she expected to inherit is for sale, without her permission. What’s worse, Kate’s ranch manager makes a gruesome discovery in the barn: the body of an unidentified man, dead by foul play.

Annalisse turns in Alec’s direction for help. She and her aunt shelter on his estate in the Catskills while the authorities canvass the scene. But when Kate herself disappears without a trace, Annalisse fears the worst: That one of the many secrets of her hometown has ensnared her family - a secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden.

Althea's Review

4 Stars

This audiobook was provided by its author, Marlene M. Bell, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thanks, Marlene!

“When my mind wanders, it is always to you.”

Spent Identity is exactly everything that it is marketed as: Romantic and suspenseful.

I should mention that I haven’t read the first book in this series but this book can stand on it’s own, in my opinion. If you are interested in reading Spent Identity and are wondering if the first book needs to be read before getting into this one: I completely understood everything that was happening; you’ll be fine.

First of all, that dead guy in the barn in the very first chapter completely caught me off guard and captured my attention right off the bat. Just from that opening scene, I already knew that the mystery would be intriguing.

Honestly, I have not read that much Adult Mystery, but I enjoyed the atmosphere of this book a lot more than I thought I would. It’s safe to say that it reached my expectations of a Romantic Murder Mystery. The writing style is not overly flowery, the actions scenes were fantastic, and I just really loved following Alec and Annalise.

Other than that, the suspense is definitely there and the mystery was my favorite aspect. The overall intense and dark atmosphere played a big role in my enjoyment.

Alec and Annalise’s dynamic was so easy to flow with, especially given that I did not have the the emotional connections to them as people who have read the first book did. Aside from the significant lack of diversity, I have to say that it may be slightly cliché, but still definitely romantic. There was far from a shortage of characters to be attached to even if you are not sold on the romance.

I do not have much of a say in terms of character development from the first book since I did not read it prior to reading Spent Identity but here the characters remained mainly consistent. With that said, it’s safe to say that this is more of a plot-driven book and I would recommend this to you if you enjoy the romantic mystery vibe.

Unfortunately, the plot felt like it was dragging in too many parts for me, personally, and that was the main reason that I was not able to give it the full 5 stars. It is slow paced but I get that was for the suspense aspect. Spent Identity follows a one track plot for the most part but it was not a big letdown, just a personal preference. At the same time, I liked that it was easy to listen to and the plot was not overly complex.

Patricia Santomasso’s narration was a delight to listen to. It was very expressive however I would have liked more distinction whenever the dialogue switched between characters. There was no music present at the beginning or at the end of the audiobook but it did not hinder my enjoyment of the actual storyline. Other than that, I think that the story actually translated very well as an audiobook and read (listened) like a movie that I would pick out on my own.
As an audiobook enthusiast I suggest picking up the audiobook as it was still a splendid narration but you won’t miss out anything with just the physical copy.

I would recommend this to anyone into romantic murder mysteries, you’ll get what you are looking for.

Meet the Author: Marlene M. Bell

Marlene M. Bell is an award-winning writer and acclaimed artist as well as a photographer. Her sheep landscapes grace the covers of Sheep!, The Shepherd, Ranch & Rural Living and Sheep Industry News, to name a few.

Her catalog Ewephoric began in 1985 out of her desire to locate personalized sheep stationery. She rarely found sheep products through catalogs and set out to design them herself. Ewephoric gifts may be ordered online or request a catalog at TexasSheep.com.

Marlene and her husband, Gregg reside in beautiful East Texas on a wooded ranch with their dreadfully spoiled horned Dorset sheep, a large Maremma guard dog named, Tia, along with Hollywood, Leo and Squeaks, the cats that believe they rule the household—and do.

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